Important rule: Smart security guards never accept responsibility for the rules. Always blame someone else.
At first glance, it sounds crazy. However, blaming someone else is a tool that masterful security guards have been using for years. Always blame management or the invisible power that I call “they” or “them.” As in “they will not allow it” or “they said everyone must have a pass to enter.’ Security companies know why the rules exist. Security guards often have no idea why the rules exist. Even if they know why it is not the guards job to explain rules. In fact, if the supervisors at the security company told the guard to sit around and play video games all day, that is exactly what the security guard would do. The guards do not create the rules. They enforce them. As a result, blame the all powerful “them”. It works.
Here are two situations that demonstrate the power of blaming someone else when working as a security guard.
Situation 1: How blaming someone else helps deal with the public
Security companies often assign guards to enforce rules that may seem to serve no purpose. The public sees this and often challenges the rules and attempts to negotiate their way around them. They want to debate. The guard must find a way to win the discussion without arguing.
Scenario: A security officer is proving event security for a security company in Baltimore Maryland. He has been assigned to a post and has been given orders not to let anyone pass him. A patrol walks up to the guard and attempts to walk past him:
How the typical security guard handles this post:
A patrol walks up to him.
Security Guard: “Sir, you can’t pass through here. ”
Patron: “This is stupid. Why can’t I go through here rather than walk all the way around?”
Guard: “Sir, this is a secure area and I can’t let anyone pass. “
Patron: “What type of secure area?” “Do you know who I am? I am John Doe! I can see everything. Let me pass.”
Guard: “As I said. Sir, this area is secure. I cannot let you pass. Please walk around.”
This conversation continues for another 10-15 minutes until the person finally realizes they are not going to get past. They walk away angry. The guard is now stressed and has the same conversation with multiple people over the course of the day.
How a smart security guard handles this post:
Guard: “I’m sorry Sir, they won’t allow anyone past this point.”
Patron: This is stupid. Why can’t I go through here rather than walk all the way around?”
Guard: “All I know is that management said that they don’t want anyone entering through here.”
The person walks away and looks for a manager. Others see this and figure out that it is not the decision of the security guard. As a result, the guard has less stress and fewer negative conversations.
Situation 2: How blaming someone else helps deal with clients
Sometimes clients may ask the security guard to do things that the guard is not supposed to do. In some cases, these things can increase the liability of the security company and possibly put the guard’s safety at risk. The guard must find a way to get out of doing the task without creating a problem with the client.
Scenario: The security guard is providing retail security services in Washington DC. Someone has dropped a bottle and juice has spilled all over the floor. The manager walks up to the guard and says “Hey, I need your help. A customer spilled some juice and all of my people are busy. Can you grab that mop and clean that up. I am concerned someone could fall.”
How the typical security guard handles this situation:
Guard: “Sir, I am the security guard here. Unfortunately, moping is not part of my duties.”
Manager: “Look. Some could fall. Isn’t safety part of your job?”
Guard: ” Yes, I am responsible for safety. However, I do not provide janitorial service. I am not here for that.” “You are going to have to find someone else to do that.”
The manager now walks away thinking “How dare that guard tell me what he is not going to do. He works for me. I’ll show him. I am going to get rid of that guy”. He then proceeds to call the security company and requests that the guard is replaced.
How a smart security guard handles this situation:
Guard: “I don’t mind helping you, but my supervisor may not want me to do that. Is it ok if I call and get permission?”
Manager: “no, that’s ok.”
Guard: “Do you want me to stand guard here and make sure no one walks through this until someone comes?”
Manager: “Sure. Thanks”
The manager walks away think “that guard is very helpful.” He wishes the guard could do it but knows the security company would not approve it. The manager finds someone else to do it.
The art of blaming someone else is useful whether you are working for a security company in Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC or any other area across the globe. Security guards take ownership of the rules as a manifestation of their power. This is understandable. However, smart guards understand that it is more important to resolve conflict quickly and easily that it is to make yourself feel powerful. Blame some else. It works!